Yellow Wagtails are birds which are known scientifically by the name of Motacilla flava. These are small passerine birds which belong to the family of wagtails by name Motacillidae. The other members of this family are longclaws and pipits. The Yellow wagtails normally breed in majority of the temperate zones of Europe as well as Asia. These can also be seen in Alaska of North America. These birds are residents of the milder parts like Western Europe, but the eastern as well as northern population migrate to South Asia as well as Africa. During winters, Beringian populations migrate to Pacific coast.
One might see vagrant individuals occurring around winters during the time of migration.
These birds are slender and possess a length of about 15 cm to 16 cm. The tails of these birds are long and constantly wagging. This is the characteristic of this specific genus of birds. The Yellow wagtail is the one among European wagtails which possesses the shortest tail.
These are normally visitors during summer from the continent of Africa. The entire summer season is pent by these birds in the meadows, pastures, marshes, riversides as well as in arable fields. These birds are very commonly seen near sources of fresh water.
The males of yellow Wagtails possess under parts which are bright yellow in colour. The face also is bright yellow during the summer. The upper parts possess an olive green colour during summer with the colour of the wings being blackish brown.
The female birds of the Yellow wagtails possess duller colours. The backs of the female birds of this variety possess backs which are browner than the backs of the males. The lower parts of the female birds are pale and buff yellow in colour.
The young ones of these birds have an appearance similar to those of their mother birds. But they are even browner and duller. The young ones have pale cheeks as well as one black necklace just below the throat.
The common call of these birds is tsweep. The song of these birds is a continuous repetition of the call.
These birds usually feed on the invertebrates like beetles and insects which normally disturb the livestock. So we can find these birds in large numbers around horses as well as cattle.
The nests of these Yellow Wagtails are built by the female birds. The nests are built in hollow on ground or in the thick grass. The shape of the nests built by these birds is similar to that of a cup. These nests are made using stems as well as roots of plants as well as grass. The nests are then lined using fur or hair.
The eggs laid by the female yellow wagtails possess a length of about 17 mm and a width of 14 mm. Five to six eggs are laid by the birds usually. These eggs are smooth as well as glossy. The colour of the eggs is grey or pale buff and the eggs contain spots which are darker buff. The young ones are fed both by male as well as the female birds.